Road to Nowhere

We recently heard that the Glasson branch had been reopened. This possibly means the water levels have improved, possibly due to lots of rain. Though I’ve also heard that the reasons for low water levels is canal leaks, rather than a lack of water supply. We are pleased to see that Bartimaeus has no leaks, as far as we can tell.  Now that we are keeping all the windows shut, we are now clearing condensation off them in the morning, but we don’t get dripped on.


It was dry yesterday morning so we were able to get another look at the Wigan Flashes in the daylight. These birds keep their distance but we made some guesses and got a closer look at the grebe. 


Brighter flash

We came through the flashes and towards a lift bridge. When I got to the controls, I found a woman holding a dog and she asked if I could use my key to operate it. She was a lone boater and it is particularly tricky to do these bridges. (You can’t operate the bridge without your key in. Once raised, you have to return to your boat, drive through, tie up, come back and let it down. And then get your key back.) I was happy to do this. Our boat came through, then she went through and I let the bridge down. I got a fright when a pedestrian started crossing after the closing  sequence began, but he was a local and knew his timings and nipped over while the gates lowered and then settled himself to watch the whole procedure.

Afterwards someone said, as I was waiting to get back on to the boat, that I had caused an awful lot of drivers to grind their teeth. I said that last time we were at the bridge we’d had to wait for an hour before we could open the bridge. And he said I was getting my own back.

I was not trying to get anyone back, of course (and it’s different people so there is no revenge to take) as operating the bridge holds up the boats longer than it does the cars every time. I imagine people do get frustrated watching the bridge move slowly upwards and waiting while boats go under, and we can only go one at a time. The boats have to wait just as long for it all to happen and have to slow to drop off and pick up a crew member each side too. Sometimes it can be quite hard to find a place to pick up your crew member. Plus by the time you’ve finished operating it (or before you start, depending on which side of the bridge you come from) you have to wait for the road to clear of cars to cross it and there is no pedestrian phase.


Roland taking us along flash to flash

We got to a different flash in the afternoon and we moved up overlooking it and were able to walk all the way round it in a variety of paths and check out some hides. There were more coots than I’ve ever seen in one place and a great crested grebe that was so close we could see it swimming underwater when it dived. It was a bit muddy but was mostly dry overhead.  From hides we saw a different duck, we think a shoveller but couldn’t see close up and some lapwings. There was a signpost in the water and we speculated that this may have been because there used to be a path there before but the land might have subsided further since then. (The flashes are a result of mining subsidence)

It was good to get a walk and see different countryside and work off some of Margaret’s tasty fruit cake. So tasty, I had felt I could eat 2 slices. We were going out for dinner and I wasn’t sure I would get hungry again in time!



Signs to no road – I don’t think the ducks and lapwings are reading them.

It started raining just as we got back. Good timing for a cup of tea! A large boat passed quite fast and we felt the boat move. Shane investigated and one mooring spike, at the back, had been pulled right out. I’d put it in and knew the ground was soft with the rain but also that I’d driven it in deep. Roland and Shane were out at the back, in the rain. I went out the front. As the back one tightened, the front spike, already loosened, pulled out further. As we were sorting it out, the woman in the next boat was out hammering her spikes and called over to me, “what a speed he went past, did you get out in time to shout at him?” None of us had said anything to him – we didn’t have time! I’m not sure if he realised the trail of devastation he literally left in his wake. There is a reason you are meant to show down for moored boats. If we hadn’t been on the boat at the time, Bartimaeus could have been adrift on our return.

No time to get worked up about it though as it was time to go for our booking for dinner. It turns out orders all needed to be in by 7pm so we had booked in for 6.30. What a characterful place: the staff banter was an entertainment in itself and the food was much enjoyed by us all. Thanks again Roland!

Nevison Country Inn, a well cleaned pub with a sense of humour and great grub!

Helpings were generous but Roland somehow had room for pudding and remained in good spirits despite hitting his head off the over- table lampshade 6 times. Still much lighter and softer than a windlass!

This morning we took Roland to a spot in the canal where we could drop him off to get a train back to collect his car. ( His journey is a whole other story.) Then we turned around and moored there waiting for him. We hoped for a walk but there was no let up in the rain. I ventured out briefly to dispose of compostable rubbish.

We had lunch before saying good bye. It’s been great fun having them and thank goodness they are used to caravanning in Scotland and sailing, so have possibly coped better than many with the wet weather. They had kindly transported clothes and other items from Edinburgh which has now been found their stowage spots in the boat ( having lain in the main lounge area during their visit!) They also brought cake biscuits and drinks that we will continue to find homes for after they have gone!

We’ve turned around, and returned to the same spot we were this morning and, before the serious rain resumed, we enjoyed the long tailed tits in the tree opposite.




















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